It’s always exciting when a sire whose progeny are expected to be best going two turns come out running at two. Precocity and endurance: it’s an enviable combination. These are the traits being displayed by ENGLISH CHANNEL’s first-crop runners. In fact, among active sires, the champion and Breeders’ Cup hero is Kentucky’s seventh-ranked freshman sire. Even better, he is the co-fourth-ranked sire in the nation with four stakes horses. Perhaps most importantly, his offspring are getting it done on the biggest stages–his stakes performers have come at Saratoga, Keeneland, Monmouth, Aqueduct and Arlington Park.
ENGLISH CHANNEL’s youngsters are led by the Triple Crown hopeful Optimizer, a homebred runner for Bluegrass Hall LLC and trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Optimizer, who was produced by an A.P. INDY mare, opened his account with a late-running score against Saratoga maiden special weight foes in August. In his next, he ran the well-regarded State of Play to a half-length in the 1 1/16-mile G2 With Anticipation S. at the Spa. In the 1 1/16-mile G1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Optimizer was at the back of the pack for the opening half mile and made a strong late move to get show honors to Dullahan, a horse he’d already beaten in the With Anticipation.
ENGLISH CHANNEL is also the sire of another promising juvenile colt in the form of James T. Scatuorchio’s homebred Captain Webb, a maiden special winner going two turns at Saratoga and later placed in the one-mile King Cugat S. at Aqueduct. ENGLISH CHANNEL’s son Channel Quest, meanwhile, ran second in the one-mile Continental S. at Monmouth while still a maiden.
ENGLISH CHANNEL’s daughter Ann of the Dance was simply awesome the day she overcame a terrible start to win a 5 1/2-furlong maiden dash at Arlington over the summer. She stretched out to beat males in an allowance event at the track in August, then rallied from last to place in the G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie S. in September.
ENGLISH CHANNEL also has impressive maiden winners at Hollywood (Blueskiesnrainbows), Gulfstream Park (Star Channel), Woodbine (Strait of Dover, English Class), and Golden Gate (Dover Crossing).
At the sales, ENGLISH CHANNEL’s yearlings brought up to $200,000, and mares selling in foal to ENGLISH CHANNEL included the stakes winners Storm Alert (Storm Cat), Laurafina (Cozenne), She’s a Mugs (Doneraile Court)), Bauhauser (Arg) (Numerous), and India Divina (Chi) (Roy), meaning there will be some nice ENGLISH CHANNELs in the pipeline.
Undoubtedly, we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg from ENGLISH CHANNEL’s runners. Considering what he’s already accomplished, that’s pretty exciting. Especially if you’ve got one in your barn.